DDU vs DDP Shipping: What’s the Difference?

Learn about the differences between DDU and DDP shipping, and which option may be better for your small business
DDU vs. DDP shipping

As any seasoned shipper knows, shipping a package internationally isn’t always as easy as packing stuff up in a box, sending it, and getting on with your day. Unfortunately, there are certain processes for collecting customs duties and import taxes that either you or recipient may be subject to…and these fees are unavoidable. There are two kinds of international labels that account for these fees (or not): DDU and DPP labels. Depending on the shipping software you choose, you may see one option instead of the other when it’s time to purchase your international labels. This guide breaks down DDU vs DDP shipping, and the main difference between them.

The Differences Between DDU vs DDP Shipping

The main difference between DDU vs. DDP shipping is when you (or your recipients) pay delivery duties on international labels. One option passes duties onto your recipients, while the other includes these fees into the original cost of your label. We’ve gone into more detail on that below.

DDU Stands for “Delivery Duty Unpaid,” and Passes Customs Taxes onto the Recipient

DDU is an acronym that stands for Delivery Duty Unpaid. Like the name suggests, DDU international labels leave delivery fees literally unpaid. DDU labels don’t include the import fees in the cost of labels, and therefore, the shipper doesn’t pay them. Instead, international recipients are responsible for paying any duties and fees associated with retrieving the package from their country’s customs department.

Depending on the country you’re shipping to, these duties can either be a flat fee based on a certain value tier your shipment falls into, or a percentage of the item’s total value. DDU is highly popular with small businesses, and may seem like an attractive option due to the money you’ll save on shipping. However, it can cause frustration when international recipients get hit with unexpected fees to retrieve their package.

DDP Stands for “Delivery Duty Paid,” and Passes Customs Taxes onto the Shipper

The exact opposite of DDU, DDP stands for Delivery Duty Paid, and means that your international label automatically includes delivery duty fees when you purchase it. Since these duties are built in to the cost of your postage with DDP, you’ll pay for more shipping when it’s time to create your labels. However, making sure all delivery duties are paid before the package enters your recipient’s country is the easiest way to make sure your shipment will pass through customs and reach its final destination without any hiccups.

DDU vs DDP Shipping: Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we’ve listed out three of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to DDU vs. DDP shipping.

What is DDU Shipping?

DDU Shipping is the cheaper option for shipping internationally, since the cost of labels don’t include any delivery fees. However, while DDU shipping may save you more money at first, it can creates a less-than-smooth experience for your international recipients when they have to pay unexpected fees to retrieve their packages from their country’s customs department. These interactions can ultimately lead to loss of customers, returned shipments, and packages held in customs departments.

What is DDP Shipping?

DDP shipping refers to the opposite of DDU, and means that delivery duties are included in the cost of your international labels when you purchase them. Since this is the case, DDP labels are more expensive than DDU labels, and certain shipping software solutions offer DDP instead of DDU. This may deter many small business owners at first, who want to save money on their shipping costs. However, covering delivery duties at the time of shipping can often result in a smoother delivery experience for international recipients.

How Can My Recipients Avoid these Fees?

There isn’t a way that you or your recipients can avoid paying delivery duties; either the shipper or recipient must pay these fees, or else a package won’t pass through a country’s customs department. However, you can choose to pay these fees yourself by making sure you’re purchasing a DDP labels from the start. If you’ve purchased a DDU label, you can also pay these fees on your carrier’s tracking page. For example, UPS allows you to pay delivery duties for any DDU labels on their tracking portal. Just be sure to enter your international tracking number first!


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